Reactions from family, friends and strangers when hearing about my trip for the first time range from “wow that’s amazing” to “you are crazy”. This causes my thoughts to dwell as well and that inch of doubt which often prevents us from achieving amazing things creep in. Am I doing the right thing? Is it crazy? Will it succeed? Fortunately, over the years I’ve learned to trust my instincts and they tell me this is doable and you are going to have one hell of a time achieving it.
Ok let’s not overly romanticize it. Feet need to remain on the ground and heads out of the clouds. There will be days when I am cursing at myself for putting me in this situation. There will be frustration, anguish, financial loss and most likely some physical pain along the way as well, but this does not make it crazy, or does it?
A large amount of planning, information gathering and risk assessment go into a trip like this. These are continuous processes and where possible I am building networks of local contacts to ensure I have the latest on the ground information to base decisions upon. This is a crucial to ensure my safety, the overall success of the trip and removing as much of the crazy factor as possible. Success of course demands that I visit all 54 African countries in 10 years.
On my side I can only control as many variables as possible. I’ve identified two broad categories the first being the environment i.e. Africa or each country in Africa and the second as me with my vehicle. Like I mentioned information gathering, on the ground information and local advice should get me through the environment whilst setting up myself and the car as best possible should ensure the second.
For the second I am getting myself in shape, losing a few pounds, exercising, getting physical checkups and making sure general health indicators like blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol are in check. On the vehicle side the 2000 Toyota Hilux 2700 is bulletproof if you treat her right. That is exactly what I am doing. I am making the appropriate modifications, servicing the engine properly and double checking every little part on the car. Currently it is a NASA launching a rocket type situation at my home. I even have a mechanic friend instructing me on minor repairs and will be carrying the spares and tools required to do them.
There will always be those situations that you cannot control. You can plan as much as you want, but they do pop up. Difficult as they can be to deal with in the moment, they are often the events that make a trip memorable. Or often ignite a chain of events that lead up to a memorable travel story or memory. That time you got lost in Paris and had to ask a stranger for directions and now you are married… If you put yourself out there these types of Hollywood moments happen. It has happened to me enough to now believe in them. Or is it the forever optimist in me speaking(writing)?
Am I crazy to take on a trip like this? Maybe a little, but do all of us not have a little crazy inside of us? Will I do crazy things whilst on this trip? Hell yes, life is a journey, I am most definitely going to enjoy the ride. Will I do everything possible to mitigate all risks at all times to the minimum? Of course I will, only a senseless person will not. Will I ever place the trip ahead of my safety or the safety of others? NEVER!!!
So there you go, a few of my thoughts on people responding to my trip as being crazy. Actually, this post originated when I was told this trip is impossible. Fortunately, I don’t subscribe to impossible. I do, I get things done. How do you feel about this trip, do you agree that its crazy or maybe impossible? Or have I convinced you of my competence to get this done…